Empress Chen Jiao

Empress Chen Jiao (simplified Chinese: 陈娇; traditional Chinese: 陳嬌; pinyin: Chén Jiaō; Wade–Giles: Ch'en Chiao; also known as Ajiao 阿嬌) was an empress during han dynasty. She was the first wife of Emperor Wu of Han, but was deposed in 130 BC. Her father was Chen Wu (陳午), the Marquess of Tangyi. Her mother was Emperor Wu's aunt Princess Liu Piao (劉嫖), making her and her husband cousins. They married when he was still the Prince of Jiaodong under his father Emperor Jing, and the marriage did much to enhance his political position, to allow him to later become crown prince over his older brother Liu Rong. When he became emperor in 141 BC, she was created empress.

Initially, Emperor Wu's love for her was so great that he bragged that he would build a golden house for her, inspiring the Chinese idiom "putting Jiao in a golden house" (金屋藏嬌), which, however, later became a term for keeping a mistress rather than a wife. She eventually lost favor because she did not bear a son, despite spending over 90 million currency coins in seeking treatment for her infertility. Jealous of Consort Wei Zifu, who gave birth to a princess within one year, Empress Chen eventually retained witches, in the attempt to restore her husband's love to her and curse other concubines (Consort Wei in particular). After this was discovered, she was deposed according to imperial laws and put under house arrest (although, at least according to Emperor Wu, supplied with all the daily living necessities that an empress would receive). Nearly three hundred of her servants, all accused of witchcraft, were executed.

Consort Wei was made empress several years later when she bore Emperor Wu his first son, after giving birth to three princesses. The former Empress Chen, now living in the cheerless, lonely Long Gate Palace (長門宮), attempted to regain Emperor Wu's sympathy by hiring the famous poet Sima Xiangru to compose a song, which is later known as The Ode of Long Gate (長門賦). Although some later scholars claimed that Emperor Wu was so touched by the poetic words that he revisited (ex-)Empress Chen and loved her again, these claims are likely to be just historically inaccurate fantasies—as historical records indicate that all attempts by Chen Jiao to recapture Emperor Wu's heart were unsuccessful. She died about 20 years after she was deposed, but the exact year is not known. Her family, plagued by scandal, also suffered downfall soon after she was deposed.

Last update 18-04-2012

Site Search


Random Articals

Join Our Newsletter




Send This Page to Friend

To Email this page to a friend

1. Use Your Default Email Client
2. Use Our Recommend Page

Online Contact





If you like this article please feel free to share it to your favorite site listed below:

Choose A Style:

Font Family

Font Colors
black Blue Green Purple Red Default
Font Size

Site Options Help

control panel